Javinder Singh | cricket20
The Chennai Super Kings got their IPL title defence off to a great start thanks to a 2 run victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders as the 2011 Indian Premier League got off to a thrilling start at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
With victory in sight the Knight Riders lost 6 quick wickets to hand victory to the defending IPL champions who secured the win from the final delivery of the game which saw Iqbal Abdulla needing to score a boundary from to seal victory for the visitors.
Srikkanth Anirudha lead the way for the defending IPL champions scoring an impressive half century to help the Chennai Super Kings reach 153-4 against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
The opening batsman top scored for the Super Kings with a vital 64, the 23 year old smashed 4 fours and 2 sixes during his 55 ball innings to help the Super Kings set the Knight Riders a victory target of 154.
The Knight Riders got off to a fantastic start thanks to Jacques Kallis and Manvinder Bisla who attacked the Super Kings bowlers to leave the defending champions on the back foot.
Kallis lead the way, making amends for the 16 runs he conceded in the final over of the Super Kings innings dispatching Time Southee for three consecutive boundaries in the 4th over to help the visitors reach 44-0 after 5 overs.
The pair went on to record an opening stand of 64 to put the visitors fully in control despite the loss of Bisla who was stumped by MS Dhoni off the bowling of Shadab Jakati at the end of the 9th over.
Despite the lose of the Bisla the Knight Riders maintained their grip on the game with Yusuf Pathan providing valuable support to Kallis during a 2nd wicket partnership of 29.
Although his stay at the crease was relative short Pathan showed a few glimpses of the power hitting which he displayed for the Rajasthan Royals during the previous three tournaments when he dispatched Jakati for a huge six straight down the wicket in the 11th over.
Having survived a stumping at the start of the 13th over Pathanís inning was ended by Dhoni who superbly ran the 28 year old out with a fantastic bit of fielding as Kallis tried to scramble through for a single to complete his half century.
Having lost his nig hitting partner the South African reached his milestone in the next over with a single off a cover drive to help the visitors reach 96-2; leaving them with another 58 runs to score from 41 deliveries.
With the pressure mounting the Knight Riders remained on course to secure a surprise victory but when Kallis was dismissed in the 16th over by Ravichandran Ashwin the visitors buckled under the pressure with Eoin Morgan (6) and Gautam Gambhir (6) quickly departing.
Despite the wobble Tiwary remained calm at the crease smashing Suraj Randiv for consecutive sixes to leave the Knight Riders on the verge of an apparent victory with 9 runs needed from 8 deliveries.
Amazingly the drama continued as Tiwary attempted another huge six off the final delivery of the 18th over only to be stumped comfortabley by Dhoni as Randiv struck back.
The tension increased at the start of the final over when Laxmi Shukla (14) was caught by Styris out on the boundary off the bowling of Southee to leave the Knight Riders needing another 7 runs from the final 4 deliveries.
Although Iqbal Abdulla added 3 more runs from the next 3 deliveries it left new batsman Rajat Bhatia needing to score a boundary from the final delivery of the game which he failed to do, handing victory to the home side.
Having lost Murali Vijay (4) at the end of the first over the Super Kings title defence could have gone off the rails were it not for Yusuf Pathanís inability to take an easy catch.
Twice in the space of 6 deliveries Pathan put down easy catches to reprieve Anirudha and Suresh Raina, allowing the pair to go on and record a 2nd wicket partnership of 75.
The Knight Riders all rounder dropped Raina off his own bowling while Lakshmipathy Balaji was denied a wicket on his return to Chennai after Anirudha was dropped in the covers.
Anirudha made the Knight Riders pay dearly for Pathanís let off with three quick boundaries off the bowling of Kallis in the 6th over to help the Super Kings reach 45-1.
The 23 year old followed this up with the first "DLF maximum" of the tournament at the end of the next over after he dispatched a toss up delivery from Sarabjit Ladda high over the long boundary.
With the Super Kings threatening to take control of the game, Knight Riders skipper Gambhir brought Rajat Bhatia into the attack at the start of the 8th over with great effect.
In partnership with Balaji, the medium fast bowler successfully slowed the home side down with Anirudha and Raina managing only one boundary in the space of three overs.
With the run rate dropping Raina tried to attack Pathan in the 11th but the 24 year old was caught by Ladda out on the boundary, just a delivery after Anirudha was put down by Morgan.
The loss of Raina brought Super Kings skipper Dhoni to the crease, much to the delight of the Chennai crowd who were still celebrating Indiaís World Cup victory.
Despite only scoring 2 boundaries in the space of 4 overs Dhoni and Anirudha remained calm at the crease as they slowly built the foundations of a vital partnership.
Anirudha completed his half century in the 14th over before Dhoni announced his arrival in IPL 4 with a massive six off the bowling of Ladda at the start of the 16th over.
Although he added 29 runs Dhoni was unable to stay at the crease to the end of the innings after he misjudged a short delivery from Jacque Kallis which was easily caught by wicket keeper Bisla in the 18th over.
Having built a partnership of 49 with Dhoni, Anirudha quickly followed in the final over when he was bowled by Kallis to leave the Super Kings 138-4.
Despite the lose of Dhoni and Anirudha the Super Kings finished the inning on top thanks to Scott Styris and Albie Morkel who smashed 15 runs from the remaining 4 deliveries of the innings to leave the game evenly balanced.